WSR 11-16-082

PROPOSED RULES

BUILDING CODE COUNCIL


[ Filed August 1, 2011, 4:34 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 10-09-070.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Amending WAC 51-11-0101, Washington State Energy Code requirements for duct testing in existing dwellings.

Hearing Location(s): Spokane City Council Chambers, West 808 Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA, on September 9, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.; and at the Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Avenue North, Shoreline, WA, on October 14, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: November 18, 2011.

Submit Written Comments to: Kristyn Clayton, Council Chair, P.O. Box 41011, Olympia, WA 98504-1011, e-mail sbcc@ga.wa.gov, fax (360) 586-0493, by October 14, 2011.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Peggy Bryden by September 6, 2011, TTY (360) 753-7427 or (360) 725-2966.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The state building code council is considering permanent language to supersede the emergency rule adopted under WSR 11-10-039 and 11-01-084, and also found as a part of WSR 10-13-114 and 10-22-055. The permanent language under consideration is the same as that of WSR 11-10-039 and 11-01-084 and eliminates the requirement in Section 101.3.2.6 for sealing of heating ducts when a system is repaired or replaced.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: RCW 19.27A.025 and 19.27A.045.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapters 19.27, 19.27A, and 34.05 RCW.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: The council is seeking comments on the issue proposed in the rule shown below.

Name of Proponent: Washington state building code council, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Krista Braaksma, P.O. Box 41011, Olympia, WA 98504-1011, (360) 902-7290; and Enforcement: Local jurisdictions.

A small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement

Executive Summary

Impact on Small Business: Permanent rule making regarding requirements for duct testing when existing residential furnaces are replaced or repaired will result in some cost outlay for small businesses, which will be offset by the additional revenue provided through the required testing. A number of these businesses will be purchasing, or already have purchased, the necessary equipment in order to comply with the requirements for duct testing for new residential construction. Instruction on the requirements and testing methodology is being provided free of cost by Washington State University's extension energy program.

While this proposed rule may pose a financial impact on small business to purchase the equipment, the cost for the equipment is offset by the additional revenue coming in from the testing itself, resulting in an overall neutral to positive impact. This impact is also a mitigated impact over the previously adopted rule, which required both testing and sealing of ducts. At the same time, the proposed rule provides a benefit to homeowners, who will ultimately bear the majority of the cost, in education and a potential for significant energy savings.

The proposed rule is anticipated to be job neutral. There are jobs anticipated to be gained for testing personnel, these gains would most likely be more closely associated with the testing requirements for new construction, which would be the driving factor. There are also potential job gains in any duct sealing work generated by the testing results. There has also been testimony provided that homeowners may elect to not replace or repair existing heating equipment, resulting in a loss of business for the installer.


Section I: Introduction/Compliance with the Rules:

Background: The proposed rule modifies requirements in the 2009 Washington State Energy Code (chapter 51-11 WAC). The rule as originally adopted required that when a heating system was altered or replaced the duct systems attached to the equipment be tested for leaks and sealed. Prior to being implemented, businesses impacted by this rule petitioned the council to rescind or modify these requirements. HVAC installers testified that they were unable to provide accurate estimates to customers seeking to replace their furnaces. While the cost for the furnace, the labor to install the furnace, and the duct testing were all known costs, the costs for sealing of the duct system could not be estimated until the ducts were tested and examined.

The council established an emergency rule to help mitigate costs for replacement furnaces by requiring that the existing ducts be tested but not sealed. The sealing could be performed at the discretion of the homeowner. This allowed the testing, which has an easily estimated cost, to be performed while the sealing, where the costs could vary greatly based on the length of installed ductwork and accessibility of the ducts, could be treated as a separate job. This emergency rule has been in place since the 2009 Washington State Energy Code was implemented on January 1, 2011.

Who is Required to Comply with the Rules? When an existing residential furnace is replaced or repaired, the duct system for that piece of equipment must be tested for leakage. This is already a requirement for new construction. HVAC installers who already own the equipment can perform the test themselves or they can contract with a secondary firm to provide the service. Some houses are exempt from these requirements. If a house has any of the following, the ducts do not have to be tested:


All of the ductwork is contained inside your house or less than 40 linear feet is outside of the conditioned space.
The ducts have been previously tested and sealed.
The ducts contain asbestos.

Section II: Compliance Costs for Washington Businesses:

Assumptions: Since the testing is required to be performed when a furnace is being replaced or repaired, these costs would be passed on to the homeowner along with the cost of the furnace rather than fall to the installer/business owner. While installers may need to purchase duct testing equipment and train personnel to perform the test, they could contract the testing out to a third party. The initial cost of the equipment is approximately $1,9001. Training is currently provided by WSU at no cost. Testimony provided by the Washington HVAC Association reported that their members do not see a hardship in purchasing equipment; most have already made the investment in the equipment to comply with the requirements for new construction and feel this will have little impact. The average price being charged by installers to perform the testing is $200.

Leaky duct systems typically contribute to twenty to forty2 percent of a home's heating and cooling costs. Duct sealing can increase a heating and/or cooling system's efficiency to a greater degree than upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace and with less of an investment. Estimated average energy savings are 1200 kilowatt hours per year in Climate Zone 1 and 2029 kilowatt hours in Climate Zone 22. The percent saved is about fourteen to twenty-eight3 percent of total space heating energy use.

Average Testing Cost: Industry experts estimate the cost for the testing at an average of $200 per system. The homeowner can then decide if they want to take the additional step of sealing existing ductwork to increase the energy performance of the system.

Many local utilities provide rebates when the testing is done in conjunction with duct sealing. Specific information on available rebates was provided by the energy policy office of the department of commerce. That data can be found in Appendix 1.

Impact on Sales or Revenue: There may be a negative impact on the sales and installation of replacement furnaces. Some homeowners may choose to install a cheaper model to mitigate the increased installation costs associated with testing or elect to not replace the furnace.


Section III: Analysis of Proportionate Impact on Small Businesses:

Small businesses affected by the proposed rule are shown in Table One.


TABLE ONE: Small Businesses Impacted By Proposed Rule
Type of business NAICS

CODE

# IN STATE

(50 Employees or less)

# IN STATE

(More than 50 Employees)

ANTICIPATED IMPACTS
Residential remodelers 236118 1,854 52 Neutral to positive - costs will be incurred for purchase of testing equipment or contract negotiations but will be offset by fees for required duct testing.
Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors 238220 2,006 2 Neutral to positive - costs will be incurred for purchase of testing equipment or contract negotiations but will be offset by fees for required duct testing.
Other building equipment contractors 238290 190 6 Positive - there may be a minor positive impact on the duct insulation industry if the homeowner decides to seal the ducts in response to test results. It is anticipated that this will also be the category for independent testers who will gain jobs through contracts with installers and remodelers, as noted above.
Heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies, wholesale 423730 41 3 Neutral - the number of wholesale units sold is not expected to increase or decrease due to the proposed rule.

The Impact on Small Businesses Compared to the Largest Businesses in the State Will Not Be Disproportionate: Permanent rule making regarding requirements for duct testing when existing residential furnaces are replaced or repaired will result in some cost outlay for all businesses. However, a number of these businesses will be purchasing, or already have purchased, the necessary equipment in order to comply with the requirements for duct testing for new residential construction. In addition, the additional revenue provided through the required testing will further offset this outlay. There are also potential job and revenue gains in any duct sealing work the homeowner elects to move forward with based on the test results.

Instruction on the requirements and testing methodology is being provided free of cost by Washington State University's extension energy program.

While this proposed rule does pose a financial impact on small business, it is a mitigated impact over the previously adopted rule requiring both testing and sealing of ducts. It is also mitigated by the additional $200 fee for testing associated with the installation of each furnace or heating system.


Section IV: Small Business Involvement and Impact Reduction Efforts:

Actions Taken to Reduce the Impact of the Rule on Small Businesses: The proposed rules are written in response to public comment to mitigate the effects of the required testing and sealing in the previously adopted rule and its unintended consequences during this economic downturn. The council solicited testimony and worked with industry and trade associations to draft a proposed rule that is acceptable to the industry while also allows for the opportunity to reduce residential energy consumption.

Involvement of Small Business in the Development of the Proposed Rules: The council held a number of public hearings and heard from a variety of industry and trade representatives at meetings across the state, including the following individuals:


Washington HVAC Contractions - NAICS Code 238220
Larry Andrews, Andrews Mechanical
Jeff Demillia, Olsen Energy Source
Mike Frickberg, Washington HVAC Association
Jeff Holgate, Washington Energy Services
James King, Washington HVAC Association
Dan Schmause, Air Conditioning Contractors Association
Craig Williamson, MM Comfort Systems
Washington Residential Remodelers - NAICS Code 236118
Adam Gloss, BelRed Energy Solutions
Garrett Huffman, Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County
Derek Philips, BelRed Energy Solutions

In addition, the council's energy code technical advisory group (TAG) reviewed the current emergency rule, the language adopted in the 2009 Washington State Energy Code, and proposed language submitted from one of the industry stakeholders noted above. The members of that TAG represent stakeholders from the construction industry, local government and the enforcement community. These members recommended the council retain the current emergency rule as permanently adopted language.


Section V: Number of Affected Businesses in Washington:


Residential Remodelers . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,008
(NAICS Code 236118)
Plumbing, Heating, and Air-Conditioning . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,906
Contractors (NAICS Code 238220)
Other Building Equipment Contractors . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
(NAICS Code 238290)
Heating and Air-Conditioning Equipment and . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Supplies, Wholesale (NAICS Code 423730)

Section VI: Jobs Created or Lost as a Result of These Rules: This proposed rule is anticipated to be job neutral, i.e., they will not result in any job gains or losses.

There are jobs anticipated to be gained for testing personnel, these gains would most likely be more closely associated with the testing requirements for new construction, which would be the driving factor.

There may be some jobs lost if homeowners are unable to finance the additional costs associated with the testing when replacing or repairing an existing furnace.


1 See report from Chuck Murray, Dept. of Commerce Energy Policy, on Existing Home Duct Sealing Cost/Savings, dated May 26, 2011. Report is available appended to https://fortress.wa.gov/ga/apps/sbcc/File.ashx?cid=1406.

2 Northwest Power and Conservation Council, Regional Technical Forum (RTF) Residential: Heating/Cooling - PTCS Duct Sealing SF http://www.nwcouncil.org/energy/rtf/measures/measure.asp?id=138.

3 Bob Davis, Dave Baylon, others, Duct Sealing Pilot Project: Program Results For Puget Sound Energy, Ecotope, 1999.

A copy of the statement may be obtained by contacting Krista Braaksma, P.O. Box 41011, Olympia, WA 98504-1011, phone (360) 902-7290, fax (360) 586-0493, e-mail sbcc@ga.wa.gov.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. The state building code council is not a listed agency under RCW 34.05.328 (5)(a)(i).

June 17, 2011

Kristyn Clayton

Council Chair

OTS-3813.2


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-03-115, 10-13-113 and 10-22-056, filed 1/20/10, 6/21/10 and 10/28/10, effective 1/1/11)

WAC 51-11-0101   Section 101 -- Scope and general requirements.  
101.1 Title: Chapters 1 through 10 of this Code shall be known as the "Washington State Single-Family Residential Energy Code" and may be cited as such; and will be referred to herein as "this Code."


101.2 Purpose and Intent: The purpose of this Code is to provide minimum standards for new or altered buildings and structures or portions thereof to achieve efficient use and conservation of energy.


The purpose of this Code is not to create or otherwise establish or designate any particular class or group of persons who will or should be especially protected or benefitted by the terms of this Code.


It is intended that these provisions provide flexibility to permit the use of innovative approaches and techniques to achieve efficient use and conservation of energy. These provisions are structured to permit compliance with the intent of this Code by any one of the following three paths of design:


1. A systems analysis approach for the entire building and its energy-using sub-systems which may utilize renewable energy sources, Chapters 4 and 9.


2. A component performance approach for various building elements and mechanical systems and components, Chapters 5 and 9.


3. A prescriptive requirements approach, Chapters 6 and 9.


Compliance with any one of these approaches meets the intent of this Code. This Code is not intended to abridge any safety or health requirements required under any other applicable codes or ordinances.


The provisions of this Code do not consider the efficiency of various energy forms as they are delivered to the building envelope. A determination of delivered energy efficiencies in conjunction with this Code will provide the most efficient use of available energy in new building construction.


101.3 Scope: This Code sets forth minimum requirements for the design of new buildings and structures that provide facilities or shelter for residential occupancies by regulating their exterior envelopes and the selection of their mechanical systems, domestic water systems, electrical distribution and illuminating systems, and equipment for efficient use and conservation of energy.


Buildings shall be designed to comply with the requirements of either Chapter 4, 5, or 6 of this Code and the additional energy efficiency requirements included in Chapter 9 of this Code.


Spaces within the scope of Section R101.2 of the International Residential Code shall comply with Chapters 1 through 10 of this Code. All other spaces, including other Group R Occupancies, shall comply with Chapters 11 through 20 of this Code. Chapter 2 (Definitions), Chapter 7 (Standards), and Chapter 10 (default heat loss coefficients), are applicable to all building types.


101.3.1 Exempt Buildings: Buildings and structures or portions thereof meeting any of the following criteria shall be exempt from the building envelope requirements of Sections 502 and 602, but shall comply with all other requirements for mechanical systems and domestic water systems.


101.3.1.1: Buildings and structures or portions thereof whose peak design rate of energy usage is less than three and four tenths (3.4) Btu/h per square foot or one point zero (1.0) watt per square foot of floor area for space conditioning requirements.


101.3.1.2: Buildings and structures or portions thereof which are neither heated according to the definition of heated space in Chapter 2, nor cooled by a nonrenewable energy source, provided that the nonrenewable energy use for space conditioning complies with requirements of Section 101.3.1.1.


101.3.1.3: Greenhouses isolated from any conditioned space and not intended for occupancy.


101.3.1.4: The provisions of this code do not apply to the construction, alteration, or repair of temporary worker housing except as provided by rule adopted under chapter 70.114A RCW or chapter 37, Laws of 1998 (SB 6168). "Temporary worker housing" means a place, area, or piece of land where sleeping places or housing sites are provided by an employer for his or her employees or by another person, including a temporary worker housing operator, who is providing such accommodations for employees, for temporary, seasonal occupancy, and includes "labor camps" under RCW 70.54.110.


101.3.2 Application to Existing Buildings: Additions, historic buildings, changes of occupancy or use, and alterations or repairs shall comply with the requirements in the subsections below.


EXCEPTION: The building official may approve designs of alterations or repairs which do not fully conform with all of the requirements of this Code where in the opinion of the building official full compliance is physically impossible and/or economically impractical and:
1. The alteration or repair improves the energy efficiency of the building; or
2. The alteration or repair is energy efficient and is necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the general public.
In no case, shall building envelope requirements or mechanical system requirements be less than those requirements in effect at the time of the initial construction of the building.

101.3.2.1 Additions to Existing Buildings: Additions to existing buildings or structures may be made to such buildings or structures without making the entire building or structure comply, provided that the new additions shall conform to the provisions of this Code.


EXCEPTION: New additions which do not fully comply with the requirements of this Code and which have a floor area which is less than seven hundred fifty square feet shall be approved provided that improvements are made to the existing occupancy to compensate for any deficiencies in the new addition. Compliance shall be demonstrated by either systems analysis or component performance calculations. The nonconforming addition and upgraded, existing occupancy shall have an energy budget or Target UA which is less than or equal to the unimproved existing building (minus any elements which are no longer part of the building envelope once the addition is added), with the addition designed to comply with this Code.

101.3.2.2 Historic Buildings: The building official may modify the specific requirements of this Code for historic buildings and require in lieu thereof alternate requirements which will result in a reasonable degree of energy efficiency. This modification may be allowed for those buildings which have been specifically designated as historically significant by the state or local governing body, or listed in The National Register of Historic Places or which have been determined to be eligible for listing.


101.3.2.3 Change of Occupancy or Use:


Any space not within the scope of Section 101.3 which is converted to space that is within the scope of Section 101.3 shall be brought into full compliance with this Code.


101.3.2.4 Alterations and Repairs: All alterations and repairs to buildings or portions thereof originally constructed subject to the requirements of this Code shall conform to the provisions of this Code without exception. For all other existing buildings, initial tenant alterations shall comply with the new construction requirements of this Code. Other alterations and repairs may be made to existing buildings and moved buildings without making the entire building comply with all of the requirements of this Code for new buildings, provided the requirements of Sections 101.3.2.5 through 101.3.2.8 are met.


101.3.2.5 Building Envelope: The result of the alterations or repairs both:


1. Improves the energy efficiency of the building, and


2. Complies with the overall average thermal transmittance values of the elements of the exterior building envelope in Table 5-1 of Chapter 5 or the nominal R-values and glazing requirements of the reference case in Tables 6-1 and 6-2.


EXCEPTIONS: 1. Untested storm windows may be installed over existing glazing for an assumed U-factor of 0.90, however, where glass and sash are being replaced, glazing shall comply with the appropriate reference case in Tables 6-1 and 6-2.
2. Where the structural elements of the altered portions of roof/ceiling, wall or floor are not being replaced, these elements shall be deemed to comply with this Code if all existing framing cavities which are exposed during construction are filled to the full depth with batt insulation or insulation having an equivalent nominal R-value. 2x4 framed walls shall be insulated to a minimum of R-15 and 2x6 framed walls shall be insulated to a minimum of R-21. Roof/ceiling assemblies shall maintain the required space for ventilation. Existing walls and floors without framing cavities need not be insulated. Existing roofs shall be insulated to the requirements of this Code if
a. The roof is uninsulated or insulation is removed to the level of the sheathing, or
b. All insulation in the roof/ceiling was previously installed exterior to the sheathing or nonexistent.

101.3.2.6 Mechanical Systems: Those parts of systems which are altered or replaced shall comply with Section 503 of this Code. When a space-conditioning system is altered by the installation or replacement of space-conditioning equipment (including replacement of the air handler, outdoor condensing unit of a split system air conditioner or heat pump, cooling or heating coil, or the furnace heat exchanger), the duct system that is connected to the new or replacement space-conditioning equipment shall be ((sealed, as confirmed through field verification and diagnostic testing in accordance with procedures for duct sealing of existing duct systems)) tested as specified in RS-33. The test results shall ((confirm at least one of the following performance requirements:


1. The measured total duct leakage shall be less than or equal to 8 percent of the conditioned floor area, measured in CFM @ 25 Pascals; or


2. The measured duct leakage to outside shall be less than 6 percent of the conditioned floor area, measured in CFM @ 25 Pascals; or


3. The measured duct leakage shall be reduced by more than 50 percent relative to the measured leakage prior to the installation or replacement of the space conditioning equipment and a visual inspection including a smoke test shall demonstrate that all accessible leaks have been sealed; or


4. If it is not possible to meet the duct requirements of 1, 2 or 3, all accessible leaks shall be sealed and verified through a visual inspection and through a smoke test by a certified third party
)) be provided to the building official and the homeowner.


EXCEPTIONS: 1. Duct systems that are documented to have been previously sealed as confirmed through field verification and diagnostic testing in accordance with procedures in RS-33.
2. Ducts with less than 40 linear feet in unconditioned spaces.
3. Existing duct systems constructed, insulated or sealed with asbestos.

101.3.2.7 Domestic Water Systems: Those parts of systems which are altered or replaced shall comply with section 504.


101.3.2.8 Lighting: Alterations shall comply with Sections 505 and 1132.3.


101.3.3 Mixed Occupancy: When a building houses more than one occupancy, each portion of the building shall conform to the requirements for the occupancy housed therein. Where approved by the building official, where minor accessory uses do not occupy more than ten percent of the area of any floor of a building, the major use may be considered the building occupancy.


101.4 Amendments by Local Government: Except as provided in RCW 19.27A.020(7), this Code shall be the maximum and minimum energy code for single-family residential in each town, city and county.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045. 10-03-115, 10-13-113 and 10-22-056, 51-11-0101, filed 1/20/10, 6/21/10 and 10/28/10, effective 1/1/11. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.022, 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045, and chapters 19.27 and 34.05 RCW. 07-01-089, 51-11-0101, filed 12/19/06, effective 7/1/07. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.020, 19.27A.045. 04-01-106, 51-11-0101, filed 12/17/03, effective 7/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045. 01-03-010, 51-11-0101, filed 1/5/01, effective 7/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27.031 and 19.27.074. 98-24-078, 51-11-0101, filed 12/1/98, effective 7/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.025 and 19.27A.045. 98-03-003, 51-11-0101, filed 1/8/98, effective 7/1/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.025. 93-21-052, 51-11-0101, filed 10/18/93, effective 4/1/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.020 and 1990 c 2. 91-01-112, 51-11-0101, filed 12/19/90, effective 7/1/91.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office